Gold plated jewellery: Ultimate Guide in 2024


gold plated jewellery
Gold plated jewellery

In the world of fashion, gold plated jewellery has been loved by fashion enthusiasts for centuries thanks to its shiny gold charm and versatility, all without the hefty price tag. Gold plated jewellery is not a recent invention. In fact, it goes way back to ancient Egypt and Rome, showing us just how long we’ve loved a bit of sparkle. The process is also rather clever – it gives a regular metal a glamorous gold makeover, which makes it seemingly luxurious but surprisingly affordable.

Gold plating hit its stride in the 1920s and 1930s, the Art Deco era, and then again during World War II. During those periods, gold was not very accessible, so people turned to gold plated options to maintain their styles. And guess what? It’s still a hit today. Especially with gold prices soaring, more and more people are falling for the allure of gold plated jewellery and it is safe to say that gold plated jewellery is a fashion that’s here to stay.

Understanding Gold Plated Jewellery

What is Gold Plated Jewellery?

So what is gold plated jewellery? Gold plated jewellery is made of inexpensive metals like copper, silver, or stainless steel covered in a thin layer of gold, which gives it a perfect gold look. Unlike pure gold jewellery, which always stands the test of time, gold plated pieces inevitably fade or tarnish over time. The modern process of applying the thin gold layer is called electroplating, invented by an Italian chemist and inventor, Luigi V. Brugnatelli in 1805 and then became popular in the 1840s.  And the metal underneath that gold layer, the base metal, also affects the properties of the plated jewellery. Stainless steel, for example, has become incredibly popular in recent years because of its solid and hypoallergenic properties, making it an excellent choice for anyone looking for a durable yet affordable dazzle.

Types of gold plating by gold

Depending on the type of gold used for plating, gold plated pieces can appear in different colours. Yellow gold, for example, gives gold plated jewellery a classic golden look whereas white gold coats base meta with a light grey shine. Below are the different types of gold commonly used for plating:

yellow gold

Yellow Gold

The use of pure gold can date back to ancient times, but the concept of mixing it with other metals to create more durable yellow gold alloys became common as early as 600 BCE. Yes, yellow gold is in fact alloys, typically made by mixing pure gold with other metals like copper and zinc. Yellow gold has a rich, warm yellow colour that can vary from deep yellow to a lighter shade depending on the proportions of alloy metal content. Yellow gold is widely used in all types of jewellery including solid gold rings, gold earrings, gold necklaces, and gold bracelets. However, yellow gold is particularly favoured for classic and traditional fine jewellery, such as wedding and engagement rings, because gold symbolizes eternal and unyielding love in many cultures. Yellow gold can also be used for plating. Yellow gold plated pieces have an almost identical look and feel to solid yellow gold options for a fraction of the price, offering affordable luxury to those with tight budgets.

white gold

White Gold

White gold is an alloy of gold with nickel, silver, or palladium. Those metals have distinct white colours and when mixed into gold, they create a unique greyish white colour. White gold was first introduced in the 1920s during World War I as a cheap alternative to popular but expensive platinum. Unlike yellow gold, white gold appears to be light grey and when plated with rhodium it gains a bright white appearance that resembles platinum. White gold has a neutral colour and it is suitable to be used in designs with diamonds and other gemstones, enhancing their brilliance.

rose gold

Rose Gold

Rose gold, also known as pink gold or red gold, is created by alloying gold with a higher proportion of copper, sometimes with a small amount of silver added. Rose gold has its origin in Russia back in the 19th century and that is why it is also called Russian gold. It features a distinctive pinkish-red colour that varies in intensity depending on the amount of copper content. The higher the copper content is, the redder it appears. Rose gold is versatile and can be used for both vintage and modern designs. From classic engagement rings to modern statement pieces, rose gold can always help designers create stunning pieces.

Types of gold plating by plating thickness

Gold plated jewellery varies in quality and can be categorized into three types based on the thickness of the gold layer and the base metal used: standard gold plated, gold vermeil and gold-washed jewellery. Those three types have their unique properties and, thus, are used for different purposes.

gold plated vs gold wash vs gold vermeil

Standard gold plated jewellery

Standard gold plated jewellery typically features a layer thicker than 0.5 microns (or micrometers) based on industry standards. Unless specified differently, pieces marketed as gold plated should adhere to the thickness standards to ensure good quality and durability. This standardization provides consumers peace of mind when purchasing gold plated jewellery, knowing that it will maintain its appearance for a reasonable period with proper care. Standard gold plated jewellery offers a balance between affordability and the timeless appeal of pure gold.

Gold Vermeil

In comparison with standard gold plated jewellery, gold vermeil excels in quality and durability. While standard gold plated pieces are only required to have a gold layer of at least 0.5 microns, gold vermeil sets a higher standard with a minimum gold thickness of 2.5 microns. This thicker layer of gold not only ensures a richer and more lustrous finish but also significantly extends the lifespan of the jewellery’s golden appearance, even with everyday wear.

The sterling silver base is another point that sets gold vermeil apart from standard gold plated jewellery. With genuine sterling silver as the base metal, gold vermeil has a higher overall value than standard gold plated jewellery. In addition, thanks to silver’s hypoallergenic properties, gold vermeil is an excellent choice for those with sensitive skin, preventing allergic reactions to metals.

In summary, gold vermeil is a more expensive alternative to gold plated jewellery for those who prefer pieces of higher standards without the full expense of solid gold.

Gold washed jewellery

Compared to standard gold plated jewellery, gold-washed jewellery occupies a different niche, primarily due to its significantly thinner gold layer. Unlike gold plated jewellery, gold-washed jewellery does not have the minimum of 0.5 microns requirement for its gold layer and it typically has a much thinner layer of gold. Gold-washed jewellery also differs from gold plated jewellery in the way the gold layer is applied. Instead of plating, the gold layer is applied through dipping or brushing rather than electroplating. This method results in a gold layer so thin that it can easily wear off with regular use, making gold washed pieces less durable and more susceptible to fading and wear over time.

You might be asking why gold washed jewellery still exists since it is inferior to gold plated jewellery and gold vermiel. Well, the appeal of gold-washed jewellery lies in its cost-effectiveness. Compared with gold plated jewellery, it offers an even more affordable price tag for those seeking the gold aesthetic on a tight budget. While this affordability comes at the expense of longevity and wear resistance, gold washed jewellery provides unbeatable affordability.

Gold Plated Jewellery: Making the Choice

If you are looking to purchase gold plated pieces, you might feel at ease since gold plated jewellery doesn’t cost you too much money, unlike solid gold pieces. This advantage allows fashion lovers to experiment with various pieces to find their preferred styles without breaking the bank. However, it’s still important to follow a thought process when deciding on a purchase. Doing so can help you avoid accumulating costs from buying unwanted gold plated jewellery that doesn’t meet your expectations or suit your taste. Below is the three-step thought process to help you choose gold plated jewellery wisely.

Step #1: Choose Plating type

Standard Gold Plating

  • Cost-Effective: Standard gold plated jewellery is ideal for those looking to enjoy the golden look without spending a fortune. It allows for frequent updates to your jewellery collection without significant financial investment.
  • Fashion Flexibility: With its affordability, you can explore various styles and trends, keeping your jewellery ensemble fresh and contemporary.


  • Wear and Tear: The gold coating can diminish over time, especially without proper care, leading to early deterioration of fashion values.
  • Skin Sensitivity: As the gold layer wears thin, the skin will get exposed to the base metal, causing allergic reactions for some wearers, particularly if the metal includes nickel or other common irritants.

Recommendation: Gold plated jewellery is recommended for jewellery enthusiasts with a limited budget, provided that proper care will be attended. It can also be an excellent gift for some not-very-important occasions, for example, a friend’s birthday.

Gold Vermeil

  • Enhanced Durability: Gold vermeil offers the best quality of all plating types, with a thick layer of gold, ensuring that your jewellery is less likely to show signs of wear and retains its beauty longer. 
  • High value: Gold vermeil can maintain its value thanks to its higher gold content and precious base metal – silver.
  • Skin-Friendly: Gold vermeil is ideal for those with allergies or sensitive skin, its base metal, sterling silver, minimizes the risk of irritation.


  • Higher Price Tag: The use of premium materials and thicker gold layers results in a higher initial investment than standard gold-plated items.

Recommendation: Gold vermeil offers a blend of quality, durability, and hypoallergenic properties and is perfect for individuals looking for pieces to wear regularly without worrying about wear and tear.

Gold Washed Jewellery


  • Lowest Cost: Gold-washed jewellery offers the most affordable way to incorporate gold into your jewellery and it is ideal for extremely budget-conscious shoppers.
  • Design Variety: it is often used in highly fashionable, statement pieces where the primary value is in the design rather than the material quality.


  • Quick to Fade: Gold-washed jewellery’s appearance can wear off very rapidly even without regular use, so do not consider it if you wish to wear it repeatedly.
  • Potential for Skin Issues: As the ultra-thin gold layer fades, the base metal, which can sometimes contain allergens, is more likely to come into direct contact with your skin. This increases the likelihood of irritation or allergic reactions.

Recommendation: Gold-washed jewellery is best suited for one-off events or as part of a costume where the jewellery is not to be used for a long time. It is Ideal for adding a touch of gold to outfits without the need for durability.

Step #2: Base Metals

Stainless Steel


  • Durability and Longevity: Stainless steel is exceptionally strong. It is resistant to rust, corrosion, and tarnishing, enabling your gold plated pieces to withstand daily wear and maintain their appearance over time.
  • Hypoallergenic Qualities: It is an excellent choice for those with allergies or sensitive skin, as stainless steel minimizes the risk of irritation.
  • Cost-Effective: Stainless steel, while more expensive than brass, is still quite affordable compared to gold or silver, making it accessible for a wide range of budgets.


  • Weight Consideration: Its durability comes with added weight, which might be less comfortable for some wearers, particularly with larger or chunkier jewellery pieces.
  • Plating Challenges: The plating process on stainless steel can be more complex than that of other metals, which potentially affects the plating’s uniformity and durability. 

Recommendation: Stainless steel is a robust choice for casual and everyday jewellery, especially for items that might be subject to rougher treatment or for those seeking hypoallergenic options without the high price tag of precious metals.

Sterling Silver


  • Excellent Base for Plating: Sterling silver has a softer surface than other common metals used in jewellery, which allows for a stronger bond with gold plating. This results in a finish that’s both beautiful and durable.
  • Hypoallergenic: Sterling silver is less likely to cause allergic reactions, making it a safe choice for people with sensitive skin or metal allergies.


  • Lower Resilience: As mentioned Silver is soft compared to other metals, you might find it easier to break than jewellery made from base metals like stainless steel or brass
  • Higher Cost: Sterling silver is a precious metal with a higher price tag than non-precious metal alternatives, potentially increasing the overall cost of the jewellery.

Recommendation: Gold plated jewellery with sterling silver is perfect for those desiring jewellery for regular wear or special occasions that combine the warmth of gold and the quality of silver.



  • Economical: Brass is among the most budget-friendly options for gold plated jewellery. It makes high-end designs more accessible to a broader audience.
  • Design Versatility: Its malleability allows for the creation of intricate designs and detailed craftsmanship, which gives designers more freedom to explore creative concepts.


  • Potential for Skin Reactions: Brass’s copper content is known to cause greenish stains on the skin or allergic reactions for some individuals, particularly when the gold plating layer is worn off, which exposes the brass underneath.

Recommendation: Brass is well-suited for those looking to experiment with bold and intricate jewellery designs without a significant financial commitment. Therefore, it’s particularly appealing for statement pieces or seasonal trends. However, individuals who are sensitive to brass should choose with caution and it is advised to opt for pieces with a thicker layer of gold plating to minimize the chance of direct skin contact with the brass.

Step #3: Choose Renowned Brands or Generic Options

Renowned Brands (Pandora, Gorjana, Mejuri)​


  • Quality and Craftsmanship: Jewellery pieces from renowned brands often ensure durability and aesthetic appeal with high-quality materials and intricate designs. This guarantees high customer satisfaction and excellence.
  • Ethical Practices: Many renowned brands commit to sustainability and focus on ethical sourcing.
  • Unique Styles: Offering unique style options, from customizable charm bracelets to trendy layering pieces.


  • Higher Price Point: Premium costs associated with quality, brand reputation, and ethical standards, which might not be for everyone
  • Style Specificity: Some famous brands have distinct styles and may not suit all tastes.

Recommendation: Renowned brands are ideal for those who value quality making, ethical production, and unique design. Those pieces are perfect for significant gifts or personal milestones.

Generic Gold Plated Brands


  • Affordability: Generic gold plated brands offer fashionable jewellery accessible without spending a substantial amount of money.
  • Variety: They also provide a broad selection that matches current fashion trends with new designs.


  • Variable Quality: Pieces from generic bands might be inconsistent in quality, which leads to low durability and quicker wear and tarnishing.
  • Ethical Uncertainty: Generic brands often lack transparency in sourcing and production practices.
  • Health hazard: Some generic branded gold-plated pieces might contain harmful chemicals or heavy metals.

Recommendation: Gold plated jewellery from generic brands is suitable for fashion enthusiasts looking to diversify their jewellery collection with trendy, budget-friendly pieces for occasional wear.


In summary, gold plated jewellery is a great alternative to solid gold pieces. From its historical roots in ancient civilizations to its resurgence in the Art Deco era and its steadfast popularity in modern fashion, gold plated jewellery has proven to be a versatile and enduring choice for those looking to add a touch of glamour to their daily lives. It offers a variety of options, from the affordable standard gold plated and gold washed pieces to the superior quality and durability of gold vermeil, which holds a golden opportunity for everyone to find pieces that resonate with our personal styles and meet our practical needs. We also explored a thought process, aiming at making an informed choice about gold plated jewellery. This process involves several factors, including price, intended use, durability, skin sensitivity, and personal preferences. Whether you’re adorning yourself for a special occasion, seeking everyday sparkle, or contemplating a long-term investment in your jewellery collection, understanding these factors can guide you to selections that will bring lasting satisfaction and joy. As we step into 2024, let Kaser Jewellery be your guide in exploring the diverse world of gold plated jewellery. Remember, the right piece is not just an accessory; it’s a statement of your style, a complement to your individuality, and a treasure that keeps the golden glow of your moments alive. Click here to see Kaser’s stunning collections and find your perfect match in the golden age of jewellery—where style meets affordability, and elegance is accessible to all.


How long does gold-plated jewellery last?

Gold-plated jewellery’s longevity can vary significantly, ranging from a few months to up to five years, depending on several factors. Care and maintenance play a crucial role in extending its lifespan. Environmental factors, individual skin pH levels, and exposure to chemicals also influence how long the plating lasts. For instance, individuals who sweat more may find their jewellery’s gold plating wears off faster than those who sweat less.

The quality of gold-plated jewellery, including the thickness of the gold layer, the purity of the gold used for plating, and the choice of base metal, is also pivotal to its durability. At Kaser, our commitment to quality ensures the best possible longevity for our gold-plated jewellery. We achieve this by applying ten layers of gold plating, using 18k gold for plating, and selecting brass as our base metal. This approach aims to provide the longest-lasting gold-plated jewellery on the market.

Are gold-plated jewellery worth it?

Gold-plated jewellery can be worth buying for several reasons:

  • Cost-Effective: Gold-plated jewellery is significantly less expensive than solid gold, making luxury designs more accessible.
  • Variety of Designs: Allows for a wide range of designs and pieces that look luxurious without the high cost.
  • Fashion Flexibility: Ideal for fashion jewellery and trying out trendy or new styles without a major financial commitment.
  • Practical for Occasions: Suitable for wearing on occasions where there’s a risk of losing or damaging more expensive jewellery.
  • Durability and Longevity Considerations: While gold-plated jewellery does not last as long as solid gold, its affordability and style variety can make it a worthwhile purchase depending on individual expectations and care.

What are the disadvantages of gold-plated jewellery ?

Even though gold plated jewellery has several benefits, it does have its downsides:

  1. Prone to Water Damage: Gold-plated jewellery should avoid water contact because water can tarnish and damage your gold plated pieces. Moisture in the air can also affect it. Therefore, it is advised to store your gold plated jewellery in a dry place.
  2. Skin Irritation: It can often cause allergic reactions on your skin due to its content of metals like nickel, which many people are sensitive to.
  3. Quick to Wear Out: The thin gold layer wears off fast and over time the base metal can be exposed, making the piece look old and worn.
  4. Costly in the Long Run: Though cheaper than solid gold, the upkeep and potential re-plating of gold-plated jewellery can add up over time. This is especially true when you cherish a gold plated piece of importance and want to invest in maintaining it despite its monetary value.

Is gold-plated still real gold?

Gold-plated items do contain real gold, but the fact that they contain a minmal amount of gold makes it way less valuable than solid gold pieces. The making of gold plated jewellery involves applying a thin layer of gold over a base metal such as copper, nickel, or brass. This technique allows the items to appear like solid gold pieces while keeping the overall percentage of gold in the item quite low. Therefore, while gold-plated jewellery does contain real gold, it significantly differs in value and quality from solid gold items.

Why does gold plated jewellery tarnish?

Gold-plated jewellery often tarnishes because the base metal underneath reacts with oxygen, sulphur, and moisture in the air, especially with daily use. Over time, the protective gold layer can thin, leaving the base metal vulnerable to oxidation, which is why it tarnishes. This process can be sped up by factors like the acidity of one’s skin, sweat, and contact with chemicals found in perfumes and lotions. At Kaser, we enhance the durability of our gold-plated pieces by applying ten layers of gold plating. This technique greatly reduces the risk of the base metal being exposed, thereby preventing tarnishing and keeping your jewellery looking its best for longer.

How to clean gold plated jewellery?

Gold plated jewellery can be cleaned to restore and maintain its luxurious look. However, as a general rule of thumb, proper care should be applied to avoid damage to the pieces. To clean it, follow the following steps:

  1. Grab a piece of soft cloth and dip it into warm water to further soften it. 
  2. Gently wipe your jewellery until all the dirt and impurities are removed. Avoid applying too much force when dealing with stubborn impurity. Instead, use gentle and consistent force multiple times until the impurity comes off. 
  3. Wipe off excessive moisture with a tissue afterwards to avoid water damage.

Can gold plated jewellery be replated?

Yes, gold-plated jewellery can indeed be replated. If the gold layer starts to wear off or tarnish, you can bring your piece to a certified goldsmith for replating, which refreshes its look by applying a new layer of gold to the base metal. The cost for this service varies based on the jewellery’s size and the desired thickness of the new gold layer. At Kaser, we stand behind the durability of our gold-plated jewellery with a 6-month warranty. Should your piece begin to fade within this period, we’re happy to replace it at no extra cost. Wondering what happens to the replaced jewellery? We send it to our quality assurance team for a thorough inspection. This process aids us in enhancing our product quality by understanding the causes of wear and tear.

Author: Sergio Ricardo

Sergio Ricardo is a fashionist, who has shone brightly with significant achievements and milestones. He started as a superstar sales assistant and worked his way up to owning his successful showroom business in Brazil at age 30. Now, he lives in Australia and has created Kaser Jewellery, continuing his journey in the fashion industry with passion.

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